Politics, government and public life for Southern California

San Gabriel residency challenge delays installation of new City Council members

Chin-Ho Liao

Courtesy Chin Ho Liao campaign

Councilman-elect Chin Ho Liao placed second in the unofficial vote totals from San Gabriel's March 5 election to fill three council seats.


The San Gabriel City Council will review a resident's complaint that a councilman-elect Chin Ho Liao does not live in the city and should not be sworn in to office Tuesday evening.

Liao placed second in the unofficial vote totals from San Gabriel's March 5 election to fill three council seats. The retired nuclear engineer has long lived in unincorporated territory just outside the city.

Before the election, Liao told the Pasadena Star News he moved to an apartment within city borders six months earlier. Fred Paine, the San Gabriel resident who filed the challenge, said Liao made a similar move into a city apartment in 2011 when he ran for the council, returning to his house outside the city after he lost. The city received the challenge March 19.

The City Council had been scheduled to certify the election results and swear in new members Jason Pu, Liao and incumbent Kevin Sawkins that evening, but cancelled those actions pending review of a complaint made to city officials and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Public Integrity Unit.

San Gabriel City Manager Steven Preston gave the council three options to consider  Tuesday: swear in Laio; hold a hearing about his residency; or hire an independent investigator to research the issue and report back to the council.

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